BH-1EC018: Bronze Age Lunula fragment

Rights Holder: St. Albans District Council
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ARMLET

Unique ID: BH-1EC018

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Description A crumpled and torn fragment of sheet gold with engraved geometric decoration comprising three bands of double zigzags separated by two plain zones; the zones are each bounded by three longitudinal engraved lines and the edges by four. The decoration is well executed. Two straight edges are present and these appear to be parallel.

Maximum dimensions: Length 25.5mm; Width 12.2mm; Thickness 0.1mm; Weight 1.35 grams. The width when intact would be approximately 22mm.

Analysis: Non-destructive X-ray fluorescence analysis of the surface of a fragment of sheet gold ornament with incised geometric decoration carried out by the British Museum's Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, indicated a gold content of 86-88%, a silver content of approximately 10-11%, the remainder being copper. The sheet fragment weighs 1.35 grams..

Identification: The parallel edges and orientation of the decoration indicate that this is not a lunula fragment. The restored width is more in keeping with an armlet. The best analogues are all copper alloy armlets belonging to Needham's Group 1 (Needham 2000, 29). These are penannular sheet metal bands, three of which are narrow and three broad. One of the former is plain but the other five have geometric decoration; the broader examples (27, 21 and 37mm) particularly bearing zones and panels of motifs resembling decoration on Beaker pottery; one of them, from Knipton in Leicestershire, was associated with a Beaker but not with human remains. Another from a Normanton barrow (Amesbury G41) was found on the arm of a skeleton (Waterman 1948, 180) but has no other associations. The Knipton Beaker is not amongst the earliest. The number of Group 1 armlets is small, and contextual information is scanty. Needham's assessment acknowledges the difficulties involved in establishing a chronology for his Groups 1 and 2 armlets. A date in the Early Bronze Age, not before circa 2200BC, appears likeliest at present.

References: Needham, S. 2000. The gold and copper metalwork. In Hughes, G. The Lockington Gold Hoard: An Early Bronze Age barrow cemetery at Lockington, Leicestershire. Oxbow Books, Oxford, 23-46. Waterman, D. M. 1948. An Early Bronze Age bracelet from Bridlington, Yorkshire. Antiquaries Journal 28, 179-180. Gillian Varndell Curator, Department of Prehistory and Europe 26.02.13

Notes:

As the object is prehistoric and contains precious metal it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Designation Order 2002.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: The British Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2012T441

Chronology

Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Early
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 2200 BC
Date to: Circa 1900 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 25.5 mm
Width: 12.2 mm
Thickness: 0.1 mm
Weight: 1.35 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Julian Watters
Identified by: Mr Julian Watters

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2012T441

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Battlesden (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SP9627
Four figure Latitude: 51.93324113
Four figure longitude: -0.60510572
1:25K map: SP9627
1:10K map: SP92NE
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: The British Museum

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BH
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 6 months ago

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